You know what is the most important skill you can have? Well, I suppose that’s subjective. Let me ask it a different way. When searching for jobs, what is the most important skill you can have? No matter the company or the occupation, the ability to sell is the best talent you can have. I mean, think about it, in an interview you are convincing a recruiter that you are the best hire. It takes a certain amount of salesmanship to pull that off. And not only that, what about your next promotion? And how about that raise? It’s all selling, my friend. For some, the idea of being a salesman makes them cringe and conjures up images of a used car salesman in a 70s leisure suit. Believe me, you do not need to be that way to make a sale or rather, convince a recruiter that you are person they should hire. Even if you despise the very idea of saying “satisfaction guaranteed, or your money back,” following a few rudimentary steps can push you into the favor of the hiring party.
1. Do your homework!
- Know your prospect. Learn all that you can about the company as a whole, considering input from blogs, Glassdoor reviews and recent news articles. Take the time also to know the recruiter you are meeting with, research their social network profiles and look for common interests that could help you build a rapport with them.
- Research the job as intently as you can. Begin by reading the job description as it is currently being advertised and looking for similar jobs posted by the company’s competitors. Doing such will help you ask intelligent questions about the role you are interviewing. You can also impress the recruiter with questions about how their company is solving problems that their competitors are looking to resolve as well.
- If at all possible, track down someone who is serving in the role or look up the social network profile of someone who operated in that space. Why? Often times, the job description is based on a generic job description template and does not cite every duty. (Hey, it happens.) Click here to see how to find resumes on Google.
2. Overcome every potential objection. Imagine the very real possibility that you will be facing tough competitors who are more qualified than you. As such, you should have an answer ready for every argument against you and evidence of your qualifications for every requirement. One way to prepare is to break down the job description point by point and address each issue. For example, below I have dissected the job description of a software engineering role.
Qualification: Design and implement new user-facing features in Google’s products.
Experience: I designed and implemented a new interface for my employer’s software product and integrated it with the Google Chrome browser and Google Drive.
Qualification: Build the libraries and frameworks that support large, complex web applications like Gmail, Google Search, and Google Maps.
Experience: I produced libraries and frameworks that have been reviewed favorably on GitHub. Some of the code I’ve shared in the open source community has made its way into projects featured in Google Labs.
Qualification: Write client-side code for web-based applications, create fast, easy-to-use, high volume production applications, and develop prototypes quickly.
Experience: I participated in a Yahoo hackathon and created a search engine product that was rolled into a beta product.
3. Remember the post-interview follow-up. After the interview, be sure to thank everyone for their time and remind them that you are available to answer any follow-up questions. If it turns out that you are not the one they choose to hire, you want to be as gracious and professional as possible. Why? There may be another position opening in the future and since you have already been interviewed, shown interest in the company and presented yourself as professional, why wouldn’t they want to reach back to you again? Furthermore, recruiters switch jobs, too. It’s certainly possible that a recruiter you speak to at one company contacts you from another enterprise with a similar opportunity. It could happen.